Lynn Police Massachusetts

“We’re absolutely getting tips we wouldn’t have gotten without this system. It’s a great asset for our department.”

tip411 interviewed Captain Mark O’Toole of the Lynn, Massachusetts Police Department.

Q: Tell us about Lynn and your department (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A:
The City of Lynn is the ninth largest city in Massachusetts with a population of approximately 93,000 but likely another 10,000 undocumented persons. We are 10.4 square miles and have been accumulating “city problems” over the years. We’re one city away from Boston but have a lot of the same issues they do, just on a smaller level. Our department has shrunk from almost 200 sworn down to about 165. Crime is going down in terms of the index numbers, but the calls for service have not decreased. We run the gambit on all crimes including robbery, car breaks, larceny, and housebreaks.

Q: Why did you decide to bring tip411 to Lynn?
A:
Over the years we’ve seen a mindset among the population of not wanting to get involved and not wanting to cooperate. We found tip411 to be a conduit to get information while allowing people to remain anonymous. As technology gets better, more and more people in our community communicate via text. We wanted to tap into that rather than making people pick up a phone and call. The custom app tip411 built for us is making a huge difference in getting tips as well.

Q: Anything you would tell other agencies considering tip411?
A: We’re absolutely getting tips we wouldn’t have gotten without this system. It’s a great asset for our department. It gets us into the younger, tech savvy generation. Once they send us a tip, it’s out there, and they can’t take it back.  The two-way communication is great because we can ask questions and many people respond back with more information so we can deploy our resources. Tip411 has been a huge help to our people. Unlike our anonymous phone tip line where we can’t ask that next question to get more information, we can and do with tip411. Almost everyone has a cell phone, they can take pictures and send things to you and they do, and it’s instant. If you can get them to tip you on some stuff, you can get them to tip you on bigger, more important stuff, too. tip411 has been a great investment for us in terms of gaining information and communicating with our public. If you’re not on it, you’re missing out on the opportunity for some really great information to help solve crimes.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
On March 21stwe got a tip about a Level 3 Sex Offender that was living in our community near an elementary school. The subject was confirmed as unregistered in our city as required, more investigation was done and charges were filed for failure to register. This is the type of thing we want to know, and we were able to take action as a result of the tip. We have a wide variety of crimes, and when our PIO sends something out to the newspapers, on Twitter, and on Facebook, we always put the tip411 information on it. We include video stills when we can, and we get a fair amount of tips that lead us to who the person or persons are.

Q: Any success working with other jurisdictions through tip411?
A:
We received a tip not long ago about a guy wanted on a sexual assault crime. The tipster told us he was living at an address in Pensacola, Florida, and we reached out to Pensacola PD and they were able to apprehend the guy.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
Tips come in to the patrol division and the commanding officer is responsible for monitoring them. There are several other people in the department, including myself, who have access to the tips and can monitor them on their phone in case it’s something that needs immediate action. For example, we’ve had complaints of children possibly being neglected and it comes through and patrol has gone right out and done checks on the addresses and acted swiftly when required.

Q: What have you done to brand and promote the tip411 system in Lynn to make your residents aware of it?
A:
We promote tip411 through our website, with community groups, and include the tip411 information on anything we’re asking for the public’s assistance on.  We have business cards with our tip411 information on them as well that we hand out to community members.We have some vice situations that I’m concerned could turn violent, so I’m working on a campaign to reach out to that at-risk community specifically with information about tip411 and how they can share information with us to protect their and others’ safety anonymously without having to identify themselves.

Q: Have you noticed an increase in the number of tips your department is receiving and cases you are solving since implementing tip411?
A:
I just looked at the numbers and since we began partnering with tip411 in 2014, we’ve gotten over 3,000 tips. We love the feature of the two-way communication and people being allowed to include photo/video tips. The vast majority we receive are about narcotics activity, and I’ll frequently respond back to the tipster asking for more information. We do get information back that has resulted in very successful investigations. These types of successful investigations can be directly attributed to the tip411 service.

Q: What types of tips/situations have you seen tip411 be most useful for in Lynn?
A: A good thing about the texts is that they can’t take it back. Sometimes people reach out with information in the heat of the moment while they’re angry or upset, and we have that information in digital form. tip411 is definitely useful for narcotics and for vice crimes as well.

Chief John Swenson

Lino Lakes Police Now Using tip411 to Communicate with Residents

Tony Stano wanted for some time to bring the product he’s helped sell to communities around the country to the city where he lives.

“It’s kind of a passion project for me,” said Stano, who lives in Lino Lakes and is sales director for Tip411, a Twin Cities-based company that has operated a law enforcement communication platform for nearly 20 years.

“I know how important it is to every community we work with because it’s a complete community engagement tool that works to provide a safe space for residents to get involved in government where they might not otherwise feel inclined to say anything about what’s happening in their neighborhoods,” Stano said.

Lino Lakes Public Safety Department is the latest agency to sign on, and the system is now live.

“This is a platform for us to have really on-going engagement with our community,” said Public Safety Director John Swenson. “(Residents) can also provide information to us anonymously through text messaging, through the app, or through the website.”

It works seamlessly with the department’s existing social media platforms, including Facebook, which has continued to prove popular with people who live and work in Lino Lakes.

Tip411 also divides the city into four zones to streamline communication and make each zone specific to where users are most interested in knowing what’s going on.

“Simply by clicking a couple of boxes, we’re able to send that information across all of our social media platforms at one time, which is a real advantage for us,” said Swenson. “Public safety really is a partnership. We cannot possibly keep track of everything that’s going on in our community.”

“It doesn’t matter the size of the agency or community,” said Stano. “If you can send a text, download an app, or manage the internet in any capacity, you can utilize Tip411 to participate in neighborhood safety.”

Lino Lakes Tip411 Anonymous Tips

Lino Lakes Police debut new app on Night to Unite

Residents now have another way to stay informed about what is going on in their community and share information with law enforcement while remaining anonymous.

Just in time for Night to Unite Aug. 6, the Lino Lakes Public Safety Department (LLPSD) announced it had partnered with Tip411 so residents can have a multitude of channels to communicate with law enforcement — all anonymously.

“For the residents, it is just one more opportunity for them to partner with us and provide us information,” Public Safety Director John Swenson said. “For us, it is providing another opportunity to get information that can help us further make our community safe and it allows us to do some targeted communications and continue to work to find efficiencies for social media use.”

Tip411 is a St. Paul company that has been around since 2000. The company works with law enforcement, schools and community groups to implement community notification systems including crime alerts, anonymous text tips, smartphone apps and social media pushes. Tip411 currently works with 1,800 communities across 47 states. Some of its largest customers include the U.S. Air Force and the cities of San Francisco, San Antonio, Minneapolis and Duluth.

Lino Lakes resident Tony Stano, who has been a sales director with Tip411for almost six years, said over the past several years he has periodically checked in with city officials to see if there was interest in joining the Tip411 platform. “Because it was my hometown, I was particularly passionate about seeing it through to fruition or to have the door shut,” Stano explained. The department and the company started planning for the launch a year ago.

Swenson said although the technology is something his department had been interested in for a long time, because of the department’s size there were only so many resources it could manage.

“The thing that really tipped it for us and why we decided to go with it, was the ability to create targeted zones of our city so we could do communications direct to areas,” Swenson explained. “For example, if we had something going on in northwest corner of our city related to theft from vehicles, we could send it out to that area of the city, versus broadcasting it throughout. We can be specific about our messaging geographically, which we have not had an ability to do prior to this application.”

Through Tip411, the LLPSD can send out alerts through its custom branded mobile app (available for iPhone and Android), email, text and social media. Residents are also able to send anonymous tips via all those channels. Through the app and on the website, residents can also submit tips about specific pins/incidents on the community crime map.

“One of the main benefits of Tip411 is that any tip that is sent in starts at two-way conversation with law enforcement and the tipster remains anonymous 100% of the time. For every tip that LLPSD receives, they will have the opportunity to respond to the tip or ask questions to develop information before ever having to deploy a physical resource if necessary,” Stano said. “So instead of an officer chasing down a two-sentence tip that they really don’t know about, they can save time and communicate over our service. For the public, it is a safe space to get involved without the fear of retribution or retaliation.”

The mobile app also enables residents to attach videos and or pictures to their tips. “If LLPSD pushes out an alert that they are looking for a suspect in a red car, you could be sitting at Applebees eating your rib tips and see that car in the parking lot. Right from your mobile device in real time, you can submit a tip about that alert,” Stano said.

As always, residents should call 911 in an emergency. “It is very important that everybody understands this is a mechanism for people to communicate with us about a non-emergency event, or a not-in-progress event,” Swenson urged. “If you need to see a police officer, or you see something suspicious in your neighborhood and you want a police response, that has to go through our dispatch center because these platforms are not monitored on an ongoing basis.”

By downloading the app, you opt in to getting alerts through the app. If you want alerts via email or text, you have to sign up online on the city’s website. (Go to the public safety tab, click police division, programs & initiatives and then Tip411.) Residents are encouraged to sign up for the particular zone they live in, although they are also able to receive all alerts across the city if they so choose. For questions, contact LLPSD at 651-982-2323.

Read the full story from Quad Community Press

Dartmouth Police Cruiser

Dartmouth Police Launch App for Reporting Crime, Safety Alerts

A new alert system to to help enhance public safety communications in town is being launched by the Dartmouth Police Department, Chief Brian Levesque announced Monday.

Tip411 is an interactive way to keep the community connected and informed through email, text message and online public safety alerts. The new system for Dartmouth residents will also allow the public to report crimes and other suspicious activity directly to police by sending anonymous text messages or submitting tips online or through the Dartmouth Police Department app.

“This new system enables members of the public to communicate directly with the department through anonymous tips. It also allows us to send alerts directly to your cell phone or email address,” Chief Levesque said. “We encourage all of our residents to sign up. But I would also like to note that this is not a substitute for calling 911 during an emergency and the tip system is not monitored 24/7.”

Residents can register to receive alerts from Dartmouth Police via email and/or text message by signing up online or downloading the Dartmouth PD app. Developed by tip411, the Dartmouth PD app enables the public to share anonymous tips with police and lets officers respond. Residents can download the app for free for iPhones and Androids.

The public can also share information on crimes or other suspicious activity by sending a text message to 847411 (tip411) and in the body of the text type DartmouthPD and the message they would like to send. Those who prefer a web-based option can share information with police by using the tip411 web form on the Dartmouth Police website.

Dartmouth Police would like to remind the community that this new system should never be used in the event of an emergency, and that residents should always dial 911 if they need immediate assistance.

“We quantify our success with tip411 based solely on the fact that even one case solved because of a tip received via tip411 is a benefit since that case would not have been solved without it.”

tip411 interviewed Public Information Officer Alexandra Ovington of the Arlington Heights, Illinois Police Department.

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your agency?
A:
tip411 has aided our agency by allowing citizens’ voices to be heard anonymously. As police officers, we routinely hear from citizens that they are afraid to call 911. Many citizens believe they can be charged with filing a false police report if what they reported was incorrect or inaccurate. While this line of thinking is a misconception, it still creates an issue of suspicious or criminal activity being underreported in our community. tip411 creates a platform for these citizens to report incidents to police without the fear of misreporting. This allows our agency to be aware of crime or suspicious activity that would otherwise not be reported.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
Our last arrest credited to tip411 is a case involving a stolen vehicle. In that case, a food delivery driver responded to a local hotel for a delivery, and while the driver was inside the hotel making the delivery, a female suspect stole his vehicle, which was left running in the parking lot. A tip was received via tip411 identifying the female offender, and that identification led to an arrest. The male that provided the tip received a cash reward courtesy of Arlington Heights Crime Stoppers.

Q: Tell us about your community and your agency (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A:
The Village of Arlington Heights is located in Cook County, Illinois. The Village is approximately 25 miles northwest of downtown Chicago. The population of Arlington Heights is estimated at 75,249. Arlington Heights Police Department has 107 Sworn Police Officers. Arlington Heights is best known for the Arlington Park Race Track, home of the Arlington Million; a Breeders Cup qualifying event.

Q: How did you hear about tip411?
A:
We heard about tip411 via the internet. We officially signed up in 2008 and have been using it ever since.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
 As the Public Information Officer (PIO), I am authorized to post on all social media platforms. Myself and my partner, the Problem Oriented Policing Coordinator (POP), facilitate the majority of posts through tip411. The PIO and POP post media releases, crime alerts, crime maps, event alerts, citizen/community alerts, and updates. In the event of a critical incident or media release for immediate distribution when neither the PIO or POP are available, supervisors are authorized to post on social media platforms through tip411. Any tips that are received are responded to by the PIO and POP and are subsequently assigned to the appropriate bureau.

Q: What have you done to brand and promote the tip411 system in your community to make your residents aware of it?
A:
It is a benefit for the Police Department to reach as many citizens as possible via tip411, as the more eyes and ears we have in the community, the safer our community becomes. In addition to cross-posting all posts made through tip411 to Facebook and Twitter, we also provide citizens with how-to instructions for signing up for and using tip411. We offer these instructions in handouts that we distribute at all community events including Police Department Open Houses and safety presentations. We also utilize tip411 in partnership with Arlington Heights Crime Stoppers whom, through their contributions, offer up to $1,000 for tips that successfully lead to arrests.

Q: Have you noticed an increase in the number of tips your agency is receiving and cases you are solving since implementing tip411?
A:
While the frequency of tips we receive vary from month to month, we do not quantify our success with tip411 based on an increase in the cases we are solving because of tips we receive. We quantify our success with tip411 based solely on the fact that even one case solved because of a tip received via tip411 is a benefit since that case would not have been solved without it.

Q: Any advice for other agencies considering tip411?
A:
Do not be afraid to provide case information to your community via tip411. Any information you can disseminate to the public for specific cases will only help to increase the amount of tips you receive in return. A strong Social Media presence leads to a strong Social Media following. Increase your eyes and ears and you will be surprised at your community’s willingness to help the police solve cases.

Atlantic city police cruiser

Anonymous texts to ACPD lead to drugs, gun and five arrests

A tip to Atlantic City’s anonymous texting system led to drugs, guns and five arrests.
Thursday morning, police received texts from an unknown person to tip411 that handguns were inside a room at the Madison Hotel, Sgt. Kevin Fair said.

That sparked an investigation by Detective Ermindo Marsini at the hotel on the beach block of Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard.

Abdul Bobo-Moore, 22, ran when detectives tried to stop him leaving the hotel, Fair said.

He didn’t get far, and had heroin on him, according to the charges, which include possession with intent to distribute and obstruction of justice.

In an apartment inside the Madison, police arrested four teenagers, Fair said.

Azyiah Henry, 18, of Mays Landing, was charged with possession, possession with intent to distribute and possession within 500 feet of a public zone.

Omar Law, 18, of Atlantic City and a 17-year-old Mays Landing girl were charged with drug possession. The girl also was charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.

A 16-year-old boy, also from Mays Landing, was found in possession of a loaded handgun magazine.

Detectives also found a loaded handgun inside the apartment. That will be sent to the

New Jersey State Police crime lab for further analysis, Fair said.

Detectives recovered 110 individual bags of heroin and 25 grams of marijuana in total.

The three adults were released on summonses. The two minors were released to their parents with future court dates.

Tip411 allows people to have an anonymous conversation with police by texting tip411 (847411) beginning with ACPD.

Information may also be called in to police at 609-347-5858.

View the alert from Atlantic City Police

Benton Harbor Police Department Cruiser

New tip411 system not intended to replace 911 calls

Lack of witness cooperation has been a frustration for Benton Harbor Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis throughout his law enforcement career.

He hopes that use of a new, customized, crime-fighting smartphone app will help residents get involved. The tip411 system, which will be available to Benton Harbor residents within four weeks, is 100 percent anonymous, McGinnis said Friday.

McGinnis stresses that it is not intended to replace 911. He said residents in an emergency situation should continue to call 911. But someone witnessing a minor incident or having delayed information about a major incident should use the tip411 app. Residents in Benton Harbor without a smartphone will be able to text an anonymous tip to police via a cell phone by texting keyword BHPD to 847411 (tip411).

“This is not to replace 911,” McGinnis said. “But sometimes, if people want to be anonymous, they get frustrated if they call 911 to report something and a dispatcher starts asking a battery of questions when the person just wants to have the police come. People get frustrated and hang up.”

The app will allow residents to find information, view alerts, report crimes as they happen, and submit anonymous tips from their smartphone. The technology removes all identifying information before police see the tips, and there is no way to identify the sender.

“Our mission is to partner with the community to solve problems and improve public safety in a manner that is fair, impartial, transparent and consistent,” McGinnis said. “We believe our new tip411 app will help engage residents to partner with us and help fight crime.” 

McGinnis said he does not know all the reasons people are uncooperative or unwilling to report crimes or provide witness testimony. He said a common reason is fear of retaliation. Although in reality, he said, that typically does not happen. 

“Or sometimes they’re just apathetic. We have people who are victims and they will not name the perpetrator. It’s a cultural thing,” he said.

Developed by tip411, the app will improve the public’s access to agency alerts, social media channels and important information, tip411 President Terry Halsch stated in a news release.

“We’ve listened to feedback from partners like Benton Harbor and have built a more advanced and innovative product to help departments better engage their communities,” he said.

McGinnis said as soon as the app is available for residents to download, it will be announced through traditional media and social media.

Read the full story from The Herald Palladium

Benton Harbor bringing in tip411 app

Benton Harbor residents will soon be able to report suspicious activity through tip411, a smartphone app that allows people to report activities anonymously.

Public Safety Director Dan McGinnis said he wants to help citizens feel safe communicating with law enforcement.

“The company that does this will not reveal the person’s name,” he said. 

He said they have talked to people who know who shot them, but won’t tell the police. 

“We had a person who had been murdered, who was done in front of people who actually took him to the hospital and none of them wanted step up and speak,” he said.

McGinnis said it’s a chance to let people communicate on their own terms.

“We just need the information,” he said. “We don’t care where it come from in most cases. But if we don’t get it, it makes it hard for us to protect your neighborhoods.”

In addition, he said the app will allow the department to send out alerts if needed.

After the meeting, Deputy Director Mike Clark said residents will be notified, when the app is ready, about how to download and use it through the city’s website and a news release. He didn’t know how long it will take to launch the app. 

During the meeting, McGinnis said one of the things residents sometimes want to report anonymously is illegal dumping.

McGinnis declared war on illegal dumping about two weeks ago. Anyone who sees someone suspected of illegal dumping can call the new dumping hotline at 944-7929.

“It’s absolutely appalling,” he said.

He said a state Department of Environmental Quality investigator last week found five automobile repair shops that didn’t have the proper paperwork, showing that they legally disposed of scrap tires.

“They are on notice,” he said. “… The tire situation is absolutely horrendous. We have hundreds and hundreds of tires in ravines.”

McGinnis said they have made 13 arrests concerning illegal dumping since the last City Commission meeting. 

Read the full story from The Herald-Palladium

“There is no better time than right now to gain the trust and respect from your community.”

UPDATE: August 12, 2019

Crime Prevention Officer Caitlin Horne shared the following with us as ongoing proof of the success of Bismarck PD’s tip411 system:

“Below are two cases where tip411 played a HUGE ROLE as it appears more and more people are turning away from using our Facebook page as a place to say who the suspect(s) are as their names would be attached to it and they cannot stay anonymous on Facebook. I know we have many more success stories, but these are two where we got many tips in a fast timeframe and were able to solve the cases quickly.”

  • KT Animal Supply called to report two individuals, a male and female, came into their store and stole two rabbits. The investigating officer was able to obtain video footage of the theft and the video was placed on our Facebook page. Within an hour of the video being uploaded, I started receiving tips on tip411 about both suspects. After the 9thtip, the officer was able to positively ID both suspects and they were both questioned and ultimately admitted to stealing the rabbits. The rabbits were safely returned to KT Animal Supply and the suspects were both trespassed from KT indefinitely.
  • Ulta Beauty contacted Police after a female had left the store with over $400 worth of merchandise without paying for it. The investigating officer was able to get two still frame shots of the female and a male accomplice that was the getaway driver. The pictures were uploaded onto our Facebook page and Tips immediately started coming in on Tip411. The investigating officer was able to positively ID both suspects and formal complaints were issued through City Court. The investigating Officer applauded Tip411 for being the sole reason for the identification of these two suspects.

tip411 interviewed Officer Caitlin Horne of the Bismarck, North Dakota Police Department.

Q: Tell us about your community and the Bismarck Police Department (how many residents, how many sworn, etc.).
A:
Bismarck’s population is over 72,000 people and, in 2017, Forbes Magazine ranked Bismarck as the 7thfastest-growing small city in the United States. The Bismarck Police Department currently has 129 sworn officers and continues to hire more when budget allows.Our Department is a full service agency that handles anything from an animal call to a homicide or aggravated assault.

Bismarck is constantly growing and expanding, and we have seen an influx of individuals coming to our area for employment opportunities. With that said, we have also seen an uptick in illegal activity which makes tip411 a great program to have in our department.

Q: How did you hear about tip411?
A:
tip411 staff came to the Bismarck Police Department a couple of years ago and did a demonstration of what they could bring to our agency. There was a webinar put on and, after speaking to other agencies that have tip411, we decided it was ultimately the best program out there that would benefit not only our department but allow the community to be more involved with our every day activities.

Q: How is tip411 administered in your department (responsibilities, protocols, etc.)?
A:
There are three ways a citizen can report a tip. One way is through the Bismarck PD app. The second is through our departments website, and the third way is that residents can access the program on our website.

As of now, I review the tips that come in during the daytime hours, Monday-Friday, and will distribute them to the investigator in charge of the case they relate to. All supervisors and patrol commanders have access to the program after hours and are able to see all the tips that come in.

With the program being so new to our community (we just recently launched in January 2019), we are still receiving many of what we consider “in progress” calls on tip411. With Patrol Commanders having access to this program during the night hours, they are able to constantly check the status of any tip and determine if it is a call they need to respond to during their working shift or if it is something that can wait until the day time hours.

Q: How has the tip411 system aided your department?
A:
Just in the last two months, we believe tip411 has become a critical and essential tool to this Police Department. We take many reports from our citizens where they ask to remain anonymous and they have been deterred in the past from calling us because they don’t want to be involved in the report. tip411 gives our citizens the opportunity to report activity to us anonymously and help our department crack down on crime.

Q: Any notable tips/arrests credited to tip411 that come to mind?
A:
When we first launched tip411, we got multiple tips on the location and sightings of a juvenile runaway as well as numerous tips on the possible identities of suspects in a huge ring of felony cases.

Q: What have you done to promote your tip411 system to make sure residents know about it and use it?
A:
One of our main goals is to have a positive interaction with our community. We are fortunate to have so many citizens in the Bismarck area support our department and have close to 27,000 people following our Facebook page.

Our Crime Analysist works very hard to keep our Facebook page updated throughout the year. She tries to keep the citizens up to date on current cases we are trying to solve and request that citizens help with identifying the suspects.

Before tip411, most of our tips came from our Facebook page. We would ask the community to help identify a suspect(s) and we would get a great number of people willing to help. The biggest problem we saw was our citizens were wanting to help us and give us information but they did not want to be associated with the case and be looked at as a “nark” and, unfortunately with Facebook, as much as you make your profile private, there is always ways around it.

Now with tip411, our community is able to interact with us in another, completely anonymous, way and it’s much more beneficial for them as well as our agency. I believe the longer tip411 is in use by our agency, the stronger the trust of the community will become and our bond with the community will continue to grow.

We have links on our Facebook page and our website along with a billboard right by our Police Department which shows people how they can use the tip411 app to send us tips. Our local news stations have also done stories on tip411 and have helped us reach out to our community on how to properly use the system.

Q: Any advice for other departments considering tip411?
A:
There is no better time than right now to gain the trust and respect from your community. tip411 gives you that opportunity to build trust with community members who might be on the fence about law enforcement in general. In my eyes, giving the community another way to reach out to law enforcement can only make a stronger bond between the two.